Do you remember the move “Honey, I shrunk the kids” where the scientist father of a teenage girl and boy accidentally shrinks his and two other neighborhood teens to the size of insects. Now the teens must fight diminutive dangers as the father searches for them. I would rather today say “Honey, I shrunk the world into a virtual world”
The Virtual Era has arrived and shrunk the world into a small window of search whereby you can see the entire world and not just the world, one can see beyond the whitish blue skies and the cauliflower clouds into the outer space beyond the defined limits of gravitational forces where you could take a tour floating in outer space overlooking the Great Wall of China or any wonders of the world. One could also dive deep into the deepest oceans and spend time with the rarest of species in the ocean or you can go on a world tour visiting some of the breath taking places on earth, you could stand on the edge of the highest cliff or for that matter you can get anywhere and everywhere at any time on the virtual world – No visas required, no tickets, no baggage, no age bar – all this from the comfort from your own space.
And so the online world is catching up everywhere with everyone and for everything. People of all ages, wherever they are and for every other thing be it basic essentials like food, grocery, water, transportation or entertainment like movie tickets,tour packages or be it services like utility bills for electricity, piped gas etc.,it’s all gone digital . It is not going to stop just there.
Every day I wake up to the news of Julia, Python, Block chain, AI, robotics, apples, I pads which probably a few years back were unknown but as we get into the future , they are soon going to rule this virtual world
Today education has joined that online and virtual world; though not completely new as there was already education through distance learning and later e-learning but online learning is certainly the new addition especially for the kids and virtual learning as the latest addition. Just like the virtual world is changing everything around it, so will the online and virtual education with a paradigm shift in the methodology and infrastructure used for training.
The white boards in classroom are being replaced by a white screen (though some still use the traditional whiteboards on camera). The classroom desk and benches are being replaced by probably sofas and beds .There is no next seat friend of yours .The note books are being replaced by laptops and smart phones .The experiments in the lab had become an experiment at home more so for the parents. The text books and notes coming flying through the e-mails .The teachers don’t have the students in front of them but have the laptop screens to look into .The breaks are more of a transition from virtual to real world and back to virtual world. And anyone can be your guest in class at anytime, you wouldn’t even know whoz watching and whoz not, it could be your school principal or your students parents or just strangers…The world surrounding the teacher-student-classroom is changed and so different.
Does that mean, everything is new to the kids? I guess not .Thanks to those parents who buy smart phones forkids in place of toys, thanks to those who let the kids search and use anything and everything thatson the internet. Since the kids have been playing with these electronic gadgets maybe right out of their cradle, they too seem less interested in those traditional toys and books but more interested in these gadgets if not in real, in the shape and size of a toy where instead of books you watch a video or listen to the alphabets and soon. So our kids fortunately are not new to this infrastructure that we use for online training today. In fact a kid from a lower class uses a laptop today which was something he would otherwise have laid hands on only once he had crossed his/ her teens and while joining the working class.So today a kid is exposed to a laptop/ Smartphone from an age of say 3 and probably will never be free of these gadgets ever in life. Well our kids are well familiarized; maybe we adults and teachers need a training form the kids on these new gadgets and Learning management systems used for online training.
This is where I believe the ‘MtoM’ concept is very important when it comes to online training in today’s virtual world. M(mike) to M(mind) meaning ‘Mike of the teacher’ to ‘Mind of the student’. It’s very important that we reach the Minds of the students whom we are training online but that’s easier said than done. The student who was once seated in front of you in the classroom is now seated at a invisible distance from you in a virtual comfortable classroom. Whether he/she is really present in that classroom is a mystery many teachers are trying to solve even today. After solving that would be the solving the next mystery of who is the one that’s logged actuallyon, Teachers who use cameras really needs to have an eagles eye today to keep a watch on their students, students today are up to many pranks too and camouflage behind the virtual screens. But the biggest challenge is an online training to capture the minds of the students. This is where the ‘MtoM’concept will help
In an ‘MtoM’ concept the challenge is to get into the minds of the student from the mike of the trainer. Well it isn’t too difficult. Here are few simply ways to achieve that. Keep the students engaged through out, make the sessions more interactive, make it more interesting, ask questions, encourage the students to ask more and more questions, at a lower class give them notes to write, at the same time keep your hawk eyes sharp, watch every student even if it is through the little window of your computer screen camera, call out names of those who doesn’t seem to pay attention, ask questions to those who seem to doze off, make students debrief at the end of the sessions, make student give a presentation next day of the topics completed are some of the techniques used in the ‘MtoM’ concept. It is not about training but more about learning and learning is complete not when the student is taught but when the student has understood.
For some it might seem simple and for few it might seem tough but there is no harm trying and as the virtual era invades more and more into the virtual education, I would even say one should use the ‘triple M concept’- MMM, which is ‘Master the MtoM’ concept, master the mike to mind concept coz that’s what the skill that a teacher would require as we move into the future and those who possess the triple Ms(MMM) the most wanted in the online training environment as Mrs. Michelle Obama said to the young minds “You’ve got more tools, technology, and talents than my generation did. No generation has been better positioned to be warriors for justice and remake the world” and to those teachers I would say “there is no better infrastructure for training the young minds than your beautiful and intellectual mind itself”..